What type of team can the Sharks field?
SPOTLIGHT: The Sharks’ reserves will be tested to the full, as the Currie Cup half of South Africa’s revamped domestic season gets underway.
The Sharks say there is a real sense of “excitement” at Kings Park, as the players shift their focus to the Currie Cup – which gets underway when a feisty Pumas team arrives in Durban on Friday.
However, there is a dark COVID-19 cloud hanging over the team, following the cancellation of the last week’s final Super Rugby Unlocked encounter with the Stormers.
SA Rugby, in statement confirming the cancellation of last week’s encounter, made it clear positive tests among the Sharks’ tighthead props was a cause for concern.
Given the required isolation period – as prescribed by the National Institute For Communicable Diseases – the Sharks will have to dig deep into their tighthead reserves for this week’s encounter.
That is not where it ends.
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— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) November 22, 2020
Reports coming out of Durban suggests as many as 10 players could still be in isolation this week – a side-effect of last week’s COVID-19 outbreak and contact protocols.
And according to a report by Independent Online journalist Mike Greenaway the Durban outfit was not just heavily hit at tighthead prop, but also at loose forward.
A silver lining to the cloud at the Sharks is the expected availability of Thomas du Toit.
The bulky Springbok has been missing for a month because of a calf injury but Coetzee says he has recovered.
Du Toit has been playing tighthead this year, so his availability is crucial to this game going ahead.
However, they are not considering calling off this week’s match.
“The team is re-energized and raring to go, and are looking to kick-off the competition on a high note,” the Sharks said on their website.
After finishing tie second with the Stormers on the Unlocked table – points that are carried over into the Currie Cup – the Sharks will take a lot of confidence into the second half of the season.
Earlier in the competition the Sharks defeated the Pumas 42-19 in their Super Rugby Unlocked match at Mbombela Stadium and go into this match holding out great hope of another good victory.
Only 4 days to go until #OurSharks take on the Phakisa Pumas in the first round of the Carling Currie Cup at Jonsson Kings Park this Friday the 27th November. Kick-off at 19H00!🦈#OurSharksForever #WaveFromHome #CarlingCurrieCup #SHAvPUM pic.twitter.com/W3ul9G3oAF
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) November 23, 2020